This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
“This is not unique to Philadelphia. This is happening in large, urban centers all over the country. These large, urban centers…can no longer sustain the type of physical inventory that is not in use.” – Superintendent William Hite
“The central premise…that the School District suffers from a fiscal crisis…is deeply flawed. In fact, were it not for the deliberate underinvestment and disinvestment in Philadelphia schools by the state…the District could easily be enjoying a multibillion-dollar surplus.” – Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools
“You didn’t ask me. You didn’t ask none of the communities that pay taxes to support this. You’re targeting our areas. You’re targeting us.” – Naeemah Felder, a parent at Pepper, which is on the closure list
“I’d be lying if I said a [one-year] moratorium was in any way feasible without doing more harm to the District academically.” – SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos
“There seems to be no rhyme or reason [to the District’s choices]. And…when you go to these meetings, you don’t really get answers. Everybody believes Dr. Hite is a good man. But everybody believes he’s just here to deliver a message.” – Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell
“No one likes closing a school…but we have to deal with the reality of our educational and financial circumstances. It’s not fair to continue
to send children to a school that is underperforming. It’s not fair to [ask] children, teachers and administrators to go to a deteriorated, poorly functioning building on a regular basis.” – Mayor Michael Nutter